In support of the resource management goals and objectives for the area and to provide a quality experience for all area users, the following recreation activities are allowed. During  hunting days, the area is closed to other recreational uses.


Hunters waiting for drawing results
David Johnson
Hunters awaiting results of drawing.

Joe Budd is a small area with an abundant, well-balanced deer population that yields an excellent harvest. Fall track counts are used to monitor changes in the population. Weekend archery and muzzleloader hunts draw hunters from throughout the state.

Quota hunt permits are distributed throughout the state in June. A drawing is held for additional permits the Thursday before each weekend hunt. Zones have been established to distribute hunting pressure. Only a limited number of hunters are allowed in each zone.

Joe Budd has a substantial population of gray squirrels, raccoons, and wild turkeys, and small populations of northern bobwhite quail, eastern cottontail rabbits, and waterfowl. The resident population of mourning doves is moderate, although the fall and winter migratory population may be temporarily abundant. For information about the dove fields, read FWC's General Information on WMA Dove Fields. More current dove field conditions can be obtained on the Field Update page. Hogs have only recently appeared on Joe Budd. They are very damaging to the environment, rooting up rare plants as well as archeological sites. Hunting is a welcome means of controlling their population.


Hunting Regulations, Map and Hunt Calendar



Kids fishing
Children fishing in pond

Joe Budd Pond is a 20-acre impoundment that is the focal point for the Joe Budd Aquatic Education Center. The pond is stocked with channel catfish and sunshine bass, and native sunfish. Between Labor Day and late June, thousands of school children enjoy fishing and learn about fish anatomy, aquatic ecosystems, and resource management. The pond is open to the public for fishing on Saturdays and Sundays only from Independence Day through Labor Day. Lake Talquin, an 8850-acre impoundment adjacent to Joe Budd, is known for its crappie and bluegill fishing. Anglers may fish from the pier or from boats.  Fishing license information.


Wildlife Viewing

David Moynahan - hiker pausing at a stream

Joe Budd has a variety of wildlife indigenous to the flatwoods and sandy upland areas of panhandle Florida. The combination fishing pier/wildlife observation platform at Lake Talquin is a Great Florida Birding Trail site and is an excellent spot to observe wading birds, osprey, and perhaps bald eagles. You may request a copy or download or print the Joe Budd Bird List PDF. Visit the  Wildlife page for more information about the area's wildlife.



The extensive network of roads and old logging trams provide ample opportunities for hiking and nature study. The Wetland Nature Trail at the Joe Budd Aquatic Education Center takes you through a cypress swamp.




The extensive network of roads provides ample opportunities for biking.


Horseback Riding

The extensive network of roads allows ample opportunities for horseback riding.  Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when riding on public lands.  For more detailed information go to Nicole's Law PDF.  All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins Test results for their horses when on state lands.



Lake Talquin and Little River. Reference the map of Joe Budd WMA PDF to locate boat ramp(s).


Scenic Driving

Roads traverse a variety of  natural communities and offer the exploring driver opportunities to observe  wildlife, wild flowers and much more on Florida's wild lands.

Betsy Purdum - High Bluff Campground


See  vehicle use regulations.



Camping is prohibited, except at the High Bluff campround by permit from the Florida Forest Service. Permits are available at a self-service pay station located at the campground. For fee and other information, call (850) 488-1871.

FWC Facts:
Whooping cranes eat aquatic invertebrates (insects, crustaceans and mollusks), small vertebrates (fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals), roots, acorns and berries.

Learn More at AskFWC